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WALTHAM FOREST

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Europe’s biggest urban wetlands opens in Walthamstow More than 5,000 visitors attended the opening of Walthamstow Wetlands during the weekend of 20-22 October 2017. Europe’s largest urban wetland nature reserve was made accessible to the public for the first time in 150 years, with visitors enjoying a range of activities such as cycling, angling, volunteering and birdwatching over the weekend, in bright and breezy conditions. The wetlands are free to visit and were funded by £10.6 million from Waltham Forest Council, Thames Water and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The redevelopement of the 211-ha site was created from the pre-existing Walthamstow Reservoirs, which supplies around 3.5 million people with water.

It has now been named as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), due to the large number of wading and nesting birds that flock to it each year. Veronica Chrisp, director of Walthamstow Wetlands was pleased with the public reaction to the opening. She said: “We were overwhelmed by the interest that Walthamstow Wetlands generated on our opening weekend. “In the first week alone, more than 5,000 people from the borough and beyond walked, jogged, cycled, puddle-jumped, birdwatched, fished and ultimately, thoroughly enjoyed their way around our wonderful and accessible site.” Two listed buildings, the Marine Engine House and Coppermill Tower

have both had extensive renovation works as part of the programme. A new cafe and visitor centre is located in the Engine House, which was first constructed in 1894, and was originally named the Ferry Lane Pumping Station. Featuring an educational space, it will host school trips, as well as childrens’ activities such as painting and crafts. A new 24-metre high swift tower was added to the building containing 54 specially installed nest boxes to attract urban swifts. The interior also includes a snug roost for bats. Chrisp added: “The Engine House has been a real hub with visitors enjoying a range of fun and educational activities and browsing and relaxing in our shop and cafe.”

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Invest Waltham Forest 4  

This fourth edition of Invest Waltham Forest looks at how the borough is prioritising culture-led regeneration and good quality design.

Invest Waltham Forest 4  

This fourth edition of Invest Waltham Forest looks at how the borough is prioritising culture-led regeneration and good quality design.